Dumb question


7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
North Georgia
I read about holding eggs out before putting in the incubator - to begin hatching two different sets of eggs for example. Here's the dumb question: How many days after the hen lays the (fertile) egg is it viable?

I always assumed that a hen layed her eggs and immediately began sitting on them, even if it took a few days to lay all the eggs. Apparently that isn't the case.
I've heard it's Ok to start incubating eggs that are a week old--two weeks tops. The older the egg, the lower the chance of a healthy chick hatching from it. If you're saving up some eggs from your hens to incubate, try and keep them in a dry, cool place, and be sure to turn them.
A good friend of mine told me the other day that you can figure out the viability time period of an egg by dividing the total incubation period in half. Guineas eggs take (approx) 28 days to hatch, so you can get away with setting your batch of eggs with the oldest egg would be 14 days old. Makes sense to me! I have set 16-17 day old eggs before tho and most of them hatched. But... the eggs need to be stored correctly while they are waiting to go into the incubator. And everybody has their opinion of what that is, lol. Mine is in a cool dark place, being turned or tilted at least a couple times a day.
This is all good information. I bought 14 pearl gray eggs that were shipped promptly and properly - none broken - and the shipping took 3 days from the date of sale. I worried that those eggs might not be viable anymore. This info makes me feel a lot better. And I have the perfect place to store eggs - a basement room with no windows, pitch black if I want it to be and about 65 degrees on the average. If it fluctuates, it isn't by much. The seller did a great job and was good to work with, so even though I've never bought like this before, I feel really good about it.

It is strange to me that a fertilized egg can be in "stasis" (maybe I watch too much Star Trek...) for up to two weeks and then start developing normally. I'm assuming the fresher the eggs the better though. Hmmm. I wonder what the science is behind delayed embryonic development. I feel more internet time coming on. Sigh.

Thanks for the info.
Oh, and Peeps, that means I could get just an egg turner and put the "holding" eggs into my cool basement room until ready to go? For a little while at least? (I think I'd rather eat dirt than turn eggs 2/3 times a day - just a personal choice :p)

THAT would be good news!
Yep. Lots of people I know use auto egg turners for their stored eggs... even in a closet, lol.

As long as the eggs stay cool (not cold), the development goes dormant and won't develop further as log as the temp stays cool. Each day the egg is stored they lose a tiny bit of viability... typically Guinea eggs lose viability at a much more noticeable rate after the 10 day mark, and even faster after the 14 day mark.

So, yes you're correct... the fresher the egg the better the hatch rate (with my hatching experience anyway), but for the most part Guinea eggs that are set before the 10 day mark have the best chance and the most decent hatch rates.

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